What next?

So I’m now officially unemployed — just waiting for the final pay cheque with the meagre redundancy payment to arrive in the middle of the month and that will be all ties severed.

After spending some time simply trying to relax and catch up with a few bits and pieces that didn’t get done while I was working, I really need to start thinking seriously about what I’m going to do.

So. What next?

Short answer:
No idea.

Longer answer:
I don’t know, but it will have to involve more of a plan than the conviction that “something will turn up” that has got me to this point.

Still longer answer:
Really not sure, but I did enjoy working for The H. Maybe it didn’t give me any visibility within the publishing industry, but the day-to-day work of proofreading, copy-editing and translation smoothing, along with the occasional bit of graphics creation and general organising of assets, was enjoyable. I take satisfaction in turning a piece of writing into something that reads cleanly and has its apostrophes, commas and hyphens in the right places.

Of course, I don’t have a degree in English (or any other subject for that matter) and I haven’t done any relevant training — I just have the two years’ experience at The H — which makes it hard to try to get past the CV-in-the-bin stage. My specific skills are very much tied to the needs of that particular job. Not that I couldn’t pick up other skills quickly enough — the one thing I am good at is turning my hand to whatever is needed — but when it comes to filling in application forms…

At least there’s no urgent need to find employment, I just have to be careful not to let weeks of indecision turn into months…

Postmortem

Content Editor: proofreader, copy editor, creator of graphics, organiser of assets. The invisible support for the writing team.

The problem with working behind the scenes is that few people know who you are and fewer recognise the value of the work that you do. My initials only ever appeared on the web site on those occasions when times were busy and I pitched in and put a translation into the CMS. And that was fine — I have never sought the spotlight — but it does mean there was no opportunity to earn a professional reputation outside of the office.

And without reputation you at least need good references. But, while my immediate boss, the editor-in-chief, could write the most meaningful reference, I suspect that him also being my other half might limit its credibility. And that leaves the two directors, neither of whom is in a position to pass judgement on my ability.

Once again I have ended up employed in a role that, no matter how satisfying at the time, is of no real long-term benefit to me. This is not a new experience. Previous positions have included a miscellany of whatever-turns-up jobs from pre-pack worker to post office sorter, Cobol programmer in the early 90s, office admin for friends, and CRM specialist (though, to be fair, if I’d wanted to move to Birmingham I could have got a job with the company that created that CRM system).

The one useful thing I have learned is that I do actually enjoy smoothing the rough edges off a piece of writing.